December 29, 2019
Best of 2019 in no particular order:
I got to interview “Big Daddy” Don Garlits at his museum
I want to go back to Garlits Drag Racing Museum in Ocala in a future visit to Florida. I still marvel at the multitude of racing memorabilia in one location. THe projects that he is working on continue to interest not only me but many in the world of motorsports. Speaking to the legend himself has to be one of my best interviews.
Garlits was featured in a 4 part series, March 11, March 18, March 31, and April 8. Episodes 255 -258 in the archives.
Visitation by Christmas Tree customers in a 1933 Plymouth
I was pleasantly surprised when Jesse Michaud and Stacy Robey arrived at Hale Tree Farms in their 1933 Plymouth as described in Episode 293 on December 8, 2019. In my 40 years as a Christmas tree grower I had never seen such a sight.
Lost and now found
I first met John Buffum when he was helping to run the Maine Forest Rally as it was called in those days. The event is now called the New England Forest Rally. I was “trapped” on a segment of the rally about noon and had an exclusive audience with Buffum as he explained in detail the line of the rally cars as they sped past us on the way to the end of the stage.
I also saw him at the Mt. Washington Climb to the Clouds somewhere near 1995 when his stepson Paul Choiniere driving a Hyundai Elantra won the race. I often wondered where Libra Racing was actually located.
This summer while doing Episode 262 on Luke Moultrop and his restoration of Super Chicken I, he mentioned he was going to Paul Tingaud’s shop, SuperCar Machine in Colchester, I asked if I could meet him at that location. When I found SuperCar Machine, I could not believe my eyes. On the door of the shop was the old Libra Racing decal. The shop truck located next to the entrance sported a faded Libra Racing decal.
When I went in to talk to Moultroup and Tingaud, located under car covers were a few of rally racing most famous rally cars. I had finally located Libra racing and as a bonus was able to interview two very unique rally/hillclimb men. Tingaud who had built Super Chicken I & II and Moultroup who brought Super Chicken I back to life. Both cars will be raced at the 2020 version of the Subaru Mt. Washington Climb to the Clouds on July 10-12, 2020.
Touring Subaru Motorsports Rally Headquarters in Milton, Vermont
I had visited Vermont Sports Cars in the past at their Colchester location and looked forward with great anticipation to a tour of their new shop on August 13, 2019 led by Chris Yandell the Public relations manager. Yandell sent me several photos since use of my camera in shop area was not permitted. I certainly would like to return for another visit in the future.
My neighbor’s son the race team owner/driver
I found out one of my neighbors is the father of Jon Bennett, the owner of Composite Resources and CORE Autosports in Rock Hill, South Carolina, directly across the river from Charlotte, North Carolina. I had the pleasure of interviewing the father at his home and the son at Daytona as well as several phone conversations. Their story will be in a future episode. You can read some about Bennett in Episode 249 January 29, 2019.
The Daytona Prototype international (DPi) Nissan team was disbanded after the 2019 race season. CORE Autosports continues its association with Porsche USA at the CORE state of the art race facility. They campaign the Porsche 911 RSR in the IMSA GTLM class.
The story of low bucks Bangor drag racer, Cliff Warren
Episodes 289 and 290 published November 10 and 17th, 2019 contained the story of grassroots racing including family issues, health problems, limited finances, and more. The story provided what I consider the heart of the weekly racer whether they are a drag racer or a RC Club racer. Real life happens and made my list for 2019.
Ashland Grass Drags were new for me
I had never attended an actual grass drags event until September 21st of this year when I was able to cover about 1/2 day of the Big Woods event. I was impressed with the facility, the announcing, the starting area, and the access to the racers. I had to rush somewhat because of a prior commitment and was unable to see the finals in many classes.
My contact was Lendell Buckingham who handled my many requests for information before, during, and after the race very well. Sometimes race events are difficult to report in a timely fashion when results are not available. Not so with these folks.
From all reports the attendance was near 1000 with number of competitors doubling since the inaugural race in 2018. The grass drags seemed to be a community event supported well by local businesses and nonprofits.
Full report found in Episode 282, September 22, 2019.
A question for the snowmobile racing folks; how come there is not a grass/snow drag racing facility in the route one side of central Aroostook of the Big Woods caliber. I wonder if several area snowmobile clubs and/or dealers combined forces if such a race track could be carved out and used in the fall and winter? Just asking…
Speaking of snowmobile racing
It seems like Tame the Track Tour promoter/organizer Jere Humphrey, Houlton, seems to be filling the snowmobile endurance race scene quite well with his tour. The number of competitors that raced the series in 2019 seemed to be substantial with close racing in most classes.
The vintage sled classes appeared to have the largest number of entries. Humphrey does an excellent job of reporting results from each of the classes ensuring his results will be published if room permits. Reports were featured almost weekly in January, February, and March 2019.
Find out the complete 2020 race schedule at http://www.tametracktour.com/
Kody Swanson wins fifth USAC Silver Crown title
Firecracker 200 raises nearly $10,000 for Feed the County
Many folks enjoyed the 2nd Annual Pro All Stars Series (PASS) stop at Spud Speedway on August 4, 2019. If you asked each person in attendance why they were at this race, you would get a wide variety of answers.
Since I cannot ask every person, I will offer my reasons for supporting the Firecracker 200.
- The 2018 and 2019 editions of the PASS race brought in nearly $20,000 in donations for Feed the County, a joint effort between WAGM TV, Aroostook Savings and Loan, and Catholic Charities. Plain and simply, a race which was not only entertaining but helped feed many in the County is great by me.
- THe two years that the race was run at Spud Speedway, owner Troy Haney made many improvements to the Caribou track in order to improve the experience for the fans and drivers. (Disclaimer portion, I am the groundskeeper for Spud Speedway)
- I would like to see more stock car racing or other motorsports events during the summer, however, I do realize that County racers may not have the money to spend on weekly races. Maybe a once a month calendar would be plausible. With the Firecracker race at least we see some local racing.
- How about changing the name to Aroostook Savings and Loan Feed the County 200?
- Bring back the PASS Mods. They put on a great race and Spencer Morse is a great spokesperson for the group as attested by his Victory Circle speech. Though finishing third, he certainly exhibited a great deal of enthusiasm.
- Keep them County and New Brunswick affiliated racers such as Austin Theriault, Wyatt Alexander racing, Kirk Thibeau, and the Canadian Maritimes racers like Hal O’Neal and Chris Duncan.
Thank you readers!
Unfortunately with a list like this, I would like to include many more who I spent time with in 2019. My dedicated race sponsors help make some portion of this blog exist. Most of all I want to thank the more than 262,000 readers of UpNorth Motorsports in 2019. I am both honored and deeply humbled that you would read and often share any and in several cases, all these episodes.
What 2020 brings, I am unsure of at this time, however, at the end of the year I hope I have met and talked with many, many of you. God bless and Happy New Year.
Let’s go racing,
Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)
PS enjoy this Christmas jingle someone found